May 25th is World Thyroid Day. I dreamed of a site where hypothyroidism sufferers from across the globe could come together, empower themselves with knowledge, and take charge of their thyroid health. In 7 months since its launch in October 2012, Hypothyroid Mom has 194,162 monthly pageviews with 61,413 monthly unique visitors from 165 countries in the world. Thanks to all of you, Hypothyroid Mom is even better than I dreamed.
I was contacted by a reader with a story that drove straight to my soul. Her story hit me so hard that I sat motionless with my head down on my desk. If you’ve ever questioned the seriousness of hypothyroidism, that ends today right now with this post.
I had my first child at 27 and all was well. Within 3 months I was back to my normal size. Life was wonderful and I was a wonderful mother.
I have always been a fun loving person who loved to laugh. Having such a great child, I wanted another one. It took me 9 months before I became pregnant with my 2nd child. Immediately I started getting sick. Sick as in I was always hungry. If I didn’t eat immediately upon waking I would get sick. I rapidly began packing on pounds and was extremely tired and moody. I had a short fuse at all times. At 8 weeks I started bleeding and had a miscarriage. After losing the baby I could not lose the weight I had gained. I was 29 and the doc said that our metabolism slows down as we get older. Diets didn’t help.
I became pregnant with my son within 3 months of miscarrying. Started off the same. I was sick if I didn’t eat. I slept all day and was extremely tired. My 3-yr old daughter who I couldn’t get enough of spent my whole pregnancy watching TV while mommy slept. Again I was extremely cranky. My hair began falling out and I was extremely hot and would often wake up covered in sweat. I was out of breath all the time. I gained over 75lbs. By the end I couldn’t walk. Just lifting my leg caused pain. I asked the doc to check my thyroid and he said it was a normal pregnancy issue.
After he was born I had extreme postpartum depression. To the point that less than 1 hour after my son’s birth I kept envisioning myself picking him up and throwing him up against the wall. My son had colic and cried all the time. I suffered from extreme exhaustion and lack of sleep. My only way of dealing with it was to cuss him out. I wanted to hurt him but would never let myself.
After my 6 week check up I found another doc. I begged her to check my thyroid. She did and my TSH came back at 100.
The Truth About Antidepressants
The Dr. Oz Show recently aired a show called The Truth About Antidepressants.
The Dr. Oz Show conducted their own survey online and found that “72% of women who were prescribed an antidepressant did NOT receive ANY other medical workup by the doctor first. This is critical because often times medical conditions will mimic depression and we know that when you properly diagnose and treat that underlying medical problem the depression will go away. Doctors may sometimes misdiagnose women with depression if you really have”:
Before anyone starts taking an antidepressant, they should have complete medical workup done to determine if underlying medical issues including low thyroid are the cause of the depression. The problem is that there is so little awareness about thyroid conditions. There are millions of undiagnosed thyroid sufferers worldwide. How many of them have been misdiagnosed with depression? I hope this article reaches them.
Hypothyroidism & Depression
I have received countless messages from hypothyroid women on antidepressants. You only need one look at my posts When Thyroid Disease Masquerades As Psychiatric Disorder and Mental Disorder or Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism to know there is compelling research linking hypothyroidism to mental health symptoms.
If you are hypothyroid and on antidepressants, what should you do?
Please speak with your doctor about taking a closer look at your thyroid condition. Be sure that thyroid testing includes at a minimum TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. Do you suffer from other hypothyroidism symptoms? Are you certain you are being optimally treated for your thyroid condition? Be sure to also speak with your doctor about anemia, Celiac Disease, PCOS and PMS as Dr. Oz recommends.
It is particularly interesting to me that in addition to low thyroid function, Dr. Oz listed anemia, PCOS, Celiac Disease and PMS as potential underlying medical conditions for depression.
- Anemia – Abnormal iron levels are a common problem for hypothyroidism sufferers so be sure to have a full iron panel including ferritin included in testing for anemia.
- PCOS - An adrenal problem can cause symptoms much like PCOS so be sure to have your adrenals tested too. Adrenal issues are another common problem for hypothyroidism sufferers. The best way to test adrenals is by saliva testing.
- Celiac Disease - Celiac Disease and PCOS have been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease so be sure to have your thyroid antibodies tested in addition to testing specifically for PCOS and Celiac Disease.
- PMS – PMS is a real issue for hypothyroid women. Sex hormone levels are intricately connected to thyroid hormones. Be sure to have your sex hormones including testosterone tested.
Do not just stop taking your antidepressants. Please speak with your doctor and if you decide to stop the antidepressants be sure to have close medical supervision during that weaning off phase.
This is not to suggest that antidepressants are not necessary and helpful for many people. The issue is that every person suffering from depression should have complete medical workup including thyroid testing to ensure all potential medical conditions that mimic depression have been fully investigated.